Saturday, March 31, 2012

Nasty Crawdads

Boo had to run down, across the border, to Washington state to complete a couple of errands and he ran across some frozen crawfish. We haven't seen or had crawdads in years. We didn't even get to try any when we were in New Orleans last November as they were out of season. Excitement. Please. Things were looking great for a good old crawfish boil. So good, in fact, that we invited Mr. D. over for dinner since there was going to be plenty.

He might not have been so happy that he accepted the invite. Those bugs were bad!

Mr. D. did have fun picking a wine to bring along, however. He visited his pals at Marquis Wines and posed the old "what would you pair with ______" question. Apparently, they don't field a whole lot of requests for wines to match with a crawfish boil, but they picked a fresh Italian and Mr. D. hoped that it might even be a varietal that could be added to my Wine Century Club list.

1093. 2010 Terredora Falanghina (IGT Campania - Italy)

I took a look back at my Wine Century Club page and, lo and behold, Falanghina is not a listed varietal. I know we've had it before but maybe it was a minor part of a blend - or maybe I just missed it previously. In any event, we had a winner. Score one for Mr. D.

The Falanghina grape is among the oldest varietals cultivated in Italy. Some studies believe that it might have been grown in the region as early as the 7th century B.C. It thrives in the volcanic soils that are readily found in the areas that surround Vesuvius and Pompeii. It is also known for its bigger body and higher alcohol content - while still maintaining a good dose of acidity.

Located inland from Naples, Terredora is one of the largest wineries in Southern Italy. It was established in 1978, partly as an attempt to rediscover and restore the Campania region's winemaking tradition - especially the local grape varietals that were prevalent in the area, those grapes primarily being Aglianico, Fiano, Greco and Falanghina. To up the ante even further in terms of trying to build on the quality of the region's wines, as of 1994, the winery started only vinifying grapes that were grown on their estate vineyards.

Mr. D's find was much better than Boo's. The rest of the boil - like corn and sausage - were fine, but the crawdads were just nasty. Whether it was because they'd been frozen or whether it was residual flavour from the BP oil spill in the Gulf, we struggled mightily to get through dinner.

It did mean we took a sip of wine after every bite of crawfish though. That, in turn, quickly meant we needed a second bottle.

2009 La Frenz Viognier (Naramata Bench - Okanagan Valley)

The La Frenz was a bit more of known quantity than the Falanghina was; indeed, to the extent this is this vintage of Viognier was already added to The List a couple of months ago and, therefore, can't be added again. The Viognier was an interesting contrast to Italian drop though, particularly in that the La Frenz still had some hefty acidity to it. I often find the acid to be negligible on Viognier when the grapes are ripen enough to deliver the bigger body and flavours that the varietal is generally known for.

Jeff Martin, La Frenz's owner/winemaker, is well known for his Viognier though and it's always welcome at our table. No doubt, this won't be the final bottle to be seen on this blog - whether I'm adding it to The List or not.

In the mean time, I guess I'll just have to be content with adding the Falanghina to both The List and my tally of varietals for the Wine Century Club - and with the knowledge that our local Spot Prawn season isn't that far off. That should help get over the disappointing crawdads.

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